Cinematography
Cinematography is "the making of lighting and camera choices when recording photographic images for the cinema" [1] -- or more simply put, "the art of making a film".

There are many topics related to cinematography and because it is more of an "art" than a "science" there is no "one way" to do something. The "Laws" of good cinematography are more accurately termed a collection of guidelines that many filmmakers follow

However you look at it, cinematography is about how a movie looks and, most importantly, how it makes the viewer feel.

Categories of Shots

Distance

Distance is how far or close the camera is to a person or object. The different distance shots create different emotions. The closer the shot is to the object or person the more emotion the shot gives off. The further the shot is from the person or object the more background you see.
There are six main distance shots in cinematography

  • Establishing Shot- Gives us the setting of the scene
  • Full Shot- Shows us the full subject
  • Medium Shot- Shot of a person from mid thigh up
  • Medium Close Up- a Shot of a person from the neck up
  • Close Up- a shot of something small that fills up the screen
  • Extreme Close Up- A shot that is very close to the subject


Dustin_Filming_Denali.jpg
This shot is an establishing shot, you can see the setting in the frame.
VTX1300-Full-shot_bw-02.jpg
This is an example of a full shot. It shows the full object in the image.
lion-close-up-644970-sw.jpg
this is a close up image the lions face takes up the entire frame
A258-351.thumb.jpg
This a medium shot it shows the person from the torso up

016_Alex_close_up_(2)(medium).jpg
this is a picture of a medium close up it shows the baby from the neck up
bald-eagle-face_850.jpg
this is and extreme close up of a bald eagle














Angle

Angle in cinematography is one of the most important factors used in producing a film. Angle gives the film emotion and interest when it comes to the audiences point of view.

There are generally five categories of angles when talking about cinematography: Extreme Low Angle, Low Angle, Flat Angle, High Angle, Extreme High Angle (birds eye view)

Extreme Low Angle
Extreme Low Angle of the St. Louis Arch
Extreme Low Angle of the St. Louis Arch


Low Angle
When filming a low angle shot the camera is lower than the subject looking up. Unlike the extreme low angle the camera is not looking directly up at the subject just looks up slightly up at the subject.  This make the subject appear superior and powerful.
When filming a low angle shot the camera is lower than the subject looking up. Unlike the extreme low angle the camera is not looking directly up at the subject just looks up slightly up at the subject. This make the subject appear superior and powerful.


















Flat Angle
In a flat angle the camera is positioned at the same level of the subject. (eye level shot)
In a flat angle the camera is positioned at the same level of the subject. (eye level shot)


High Angle
The camera is higher than the subject and looks  down upon the subject(s). This shot is used to  make subject look inferior or weak
The camera is higher than the subject and looks down upon the subject(s). This shot is used to make subject look inferior or weak


Extreme High Angle (bIrds eye view)
The camera looks straight down on a subject
The camera looks straight down on a subject




Movement

The movement of the camera is very important to the filmmaking process. Camera movement is when the camera moves to access different angles for different movie shots. The correct use of camera movements adds reality to a film and makes them more interesting. Can you imagine if film makers didn't use camera movement? Every movie would look the same and characters would be difficult to tell apart. Camera movement enhances the way we perceive movies. When the killer stalks their next victims. The camera movement is reason we get scared as the camera pans on the next victim.
Crab,dolly, dolly zoom, follow, pan, pedestal, tilt, track, truck, and zoom are just some of the many basic camera movements.
techno.jpg
This is used to help camera operators with camera movements.

Definitions of (Some) Camera Movements[2]
Crab
A less-common term for tracking or trucking.

Dolly
The camera is mounted on a cart which travels along tracks for a very smooth movement. Also known as a tracking shot or trucking shot.

Dolly Zoom
A technique in which the camera moves closer or further from the subject while simultaneously adjusting the zoom angle to keep the subject the same size in the frame.

Follow
The camera physically follows the subject at a more or less constant distance.

Pan
Horizontal movement, left and right.

(This is a interesting (approximately) 5 minute video of pretty much nothing but panning.)

Pedestal (Ped)
Moving the camera position vertically with respect to the subject.

Tilt
Vertical movement of the camera angle, i.e. pointing the camera up and down (as opposed to moving the whole camera up and down).

Track
Roughly synonymous with the dolly shot, but often defined more specifically as movement which stays a constant distance from the action, especially side-to-side movement.

Truck
Another term for tracking or dollying.

Zoom
Technically this isn't a camera movement, but a change in the lens focal length with gives the illusion of moving the camera closer or further away.

Special Effects



Famous Cinematographers

Jack Cardiff

Roger Deakins

Chris Menges

Arthur C Miller

Freddie Young

Conrad L Hall


  1. ^ "Cinematography." Wikipedia. Web.8 May 2009. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinematography >.
  2. ^ "Camera Movement." MediaCollege.com. 08 May 2009. Wavelength Media. 8 May 2009 <http://www.mediacollege.com/video/shots/movement.html>.